Home schooled president and other successful home schoolers

by Mary Ann on November 4, 2010

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Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States

Woodrow Wilson was over ten years of age before he learned to read. He may have had dyslexia which would have made reading difficult.  As a teenager he taught himself shorthand to compensate. He was able to achieve academically through determination and self-discipline. He studied at home under his father’s guidance and took some classes in a small school in Augusta.

In 1873 he went to Davidson College in North Carolina, and then transferred to Princeton.  Beginning in his second year, he read widely in political philosophy and history.

In 1879 Woodrow attended law school for one year. He never graduated because of his frail health, and he went home where he continued his studies.

Woodrow did start a law practice but he found staying current with the law got in the way of his plans to study government. What he wanted was a political career. He eventually became the 28th president of the United States.

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William Blake, English poet

William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. William did not attend school and was educated at home by his mother.

Blake started engraving copies of drawings of Greek antiquities purchased for him by his father, a practice that was then preferred to actual drawing. His parents knew enough of his headstrong temperament that he was not sent to school but was instead enrolled in drawing classes. He read avidly on subjects of his own choosing. During this period, Blake was also making explorations into poetry.

Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age.

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Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist

Albert Einstein attended a Catholic Elementary school from the age of five until ten. Although Einstein had early speech difficulties, he was a top student in elementary school. As he grew Albert built models and mechanical devices for fun and began to show a talent for mathematics.

When Albert was ten he had a wonderful mentor named Max Talmud. Max introduced Albert to key texts in science, mathematics and philosophy. Max was a poor Jewish medical student from Poland. He took his meals with the Einstein’s each week on Thursdays for six years. During this time Max wholeheartedly guided Einstein through many secular educational interests.

When his family moved to Italy Albert stayed behind in Munich at the Luitpold Gymnasium. His father wanted him to become an electrical engineer. Albert didn’t do well because he resented the schools regime and teaching method. He later wrote that the spirit of learning and creative thought were lost in strict rote learning. He left the school and joined his family in Italy.

Albert was now 15 years old and he wrote his first scientific work called “The Investigation of the State of Aether in Magnetic Fields “. Albert became a theoretical physicist, philosopher, and author who is widely regarded as one of the most influential and best known scientists and intellectuals of all time.

I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” — Albert Einstein

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John Wesley, Christian theologian

John Wesley was the youngest of fifteen children. His father was a graduate of the University of Oxford and a Church of England rector.

As in many families at the time, Wesley’s parents gave their children their early education. Each child, including the girls, was taught to read as soon as they could walk and talk. At age 11, John was sent to the Charterhouse School in London, where he lived the studious, methodical and religious life in which he had been trained at home.

During John’s early adult years he was greatly influenced by classic books. John became an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian. He and his brother are largely credited as founding the Methodist movement.

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George Patton, General in the United States Army

George Patton was a United States Army officer best known as a general in World War II. As a boy, Patton read widely in the classics and military history.  From an early age, George wanted to become a general and hero in his own right.

When he was old enough George attended Virginia Military Institute for one year. The Academy required him to repeat his first year because of his poor performance in mathematics. He repeated the year, studied hard and finished with honors. He graduated a year late but received his commission as a cavalry officer.

George  participated in the first-ever modern pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden.  He finished fifth overall.Because of his military feats he gained the nickname “Old blood and guts”.

Other successful home schoolers are teddy roosevelt, Rough Rider; Sir Walter Scott, historical novelist; Grandma Moses,painter; Brigham Young, Modern Moses; Peter Cooper, trade in hat-making, brewing and brick making.

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